Feeling the Love for Hannah Hoch

by - Thursday, April 19, 2012

from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_Höch
My goal now that the dissertation is really getting going is to not totally isolate myself in Andersonville, and try to still reflect on other badass women and artists. This serves the very selfish purpose of reminding myself of how much I love what I am doing, but it also might be fun for other people to look at some work which is pretty amazing. 

This is Hannah Hoch's most famous collage- Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch, 1919. Hannah Hoch was a female artist working out of Weimar. She came out of a family where the father was a business man in insurance (though her mom was an artist); this is pretty impressive because a lot of female figures in the arts before pretty recent times got in the door by having a male family member working as an artist. Hoch studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (so she was trained in craft and focused on collage) and started out doing fabric design, dress design, and embroidery.

from artsy.net/artist/hannah-hoch
As a side note, she does have amazing style. Super modernist. 

Hoch was the only woman who was involved in early Dada events (she was close friends with Raul Hausmann- I think they were eventually lovers, but I am not sure). She also lived with the Dutch writer Til Brugman.
  
from artsy.net/artist/hannah-hoch
 This collage, Die Starken Manner, comments on how lame Dada artists were- though the acted as if they were really cool with the lady thing, they mostly treated her like she should support them financially and get them food and so forth. She said in a note: "None of these men were satisfied with just an ordinary woman. In protest against the older generation they all desired this "New Woman" and her groundbreaking will to freedom. But - they more or less brutally rejected the notion that they, too, had to adopt new attitudes. This led to these truly Strindbergian dramas that typified the private lives of these men".

This conflict, between men who are supposedly pro-women but mostly were just setting up a new impossible ideal to continue their condescension, still resonates with a lot of the bullshit I see now, where pseudo- progressive men are equally sexist, unaware that they need to change for things to change. You have to make space for people. You have to stop hiding behind cloaks of biology or machismo psychology and figure out that this stuff is holding you back too. I could rant a lot about this.

from omacole.blogspot.com/2011/09/limitless.html
Hoch's work serves as deep political critique, often with a pretty badass feminist stance, questioning notions of feminine identity (though this is not at all the only thing she was commenting on).  Many of her most famous collages sharply critique the Weimar Republic and its politicians. She gained some fame, famous artists friends, and exhibitions in the early 30's, but as time rolled on, things became more dangerous for someone as outspokenly political as she was.  She basically went into safe obscurity during the War, then got back to work on Bilderbuch (which wouldn't be published til the 80's) soon after it was over. She stayed in Berlin the majority of her life and participated in some large Dada exhibitions. 

Hoch is also notable because she was an adamant supporter of women's reproductive rights, and she was open about having abortions while she was in a relationship with Hausmann. She was critical of marriage. She worked for Verlag magazine which made her aware of the hypocrisy in mediated images of women.She played with gender identity, and you can see the combinations of male and female identities in her collages, and her own identity played with androgyny. Basically, she was a super huge badass that was WAY before her time (and a perfect precedent for LA). Yay Hannah Hoch!

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